Hitched (Regan Reilly Series #9)

Overview

The date is Saturday, April 2. Five April brides discover their wedding dresses have been stolen. One of the brides is private investigator Regan Reilly. Her wedding is in seven days.
Regan Reilly and her fiancé, Jack "no relation" Reilly — head of the NYPD Major Case Squad — are getting married! Regan had the perfect dress made by two young designers on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Arriving at the bridal salon to pick up her gown, Regan discovers the shop has been broken into, ...

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Overview

The date is Saturday, April 2. Five April brides discover their wedding dresses have been stolen. One of the brides is private investigator Regan Reilly. Her wedding is in seven days.
Regan Reilly and her fiancé, Jack "no relation" Reilly — head of the NYPD Major Case Squad — are getting married! Regan had the perfect dress made by two young designers on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Arriving at the bridal salon to pick up her gown, Regan discovers the shop has been broken into, the designers bound and gagged, and wedding dresses for four of the April brides (her dress included) are missing. A fifth dress is in shreds on the floor. Even though it's a week before her wedding, Regan gets on the case, and in the process she meets an unusual mix of brides and grooms-to-be, or — perhaps "not-to-be."

Over at One Police Plaza, Regan's bridegroom, Jack, is trying to solve a perplexing series of bank robberies. The robber, nicknamed "The Drip" by the NYPD because he always strikes during rainstorms, has been eluding the police for months. Jack is determined to crack the case before his upcoming nuptials.

Carol Higgins Clark fuses the two seemingly unrelated mysteries with an ingenious twist, taking readers from the streets of New York City, to the casinos of Atlantic City, and finally to that most popular wedding spot — the one and only Las Vegas. She weaves a web of mystery around a charming, humorous tale of five April brides and the trials and tribulations they face planning their weddings.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Nothing spices up a wedding week better than a homicide. As Regan Reilly races around Manhattan, making last-minute preparations for her nuptials, a murderer is in the wings. Carol Higgins Clark's nicely modulated whodunit will please readers of her light, humorous fare.
Publishers Weekly
Nervous brides may want to wait until after the wedding to read bestseller Clark's winning ninth mystery to feature PI Regan Reilly (after 2005's Burned). With her wedding to Jack "no relation" Reilly, head of the NYPD Major Case Squad, only a week away, Regan thinks she has everything under control. But when she arrives to pick up her wedding dress at Alfred and Charisse's Coutures in Little Italy, she finds the young husband-and-wife designers bound and gagged, a wedding dress shredded on the floor and four others missing, including her own. In spite of all she must do before the wedding, Regan agrees to investigate. Jack, hoping to solve a big bank robbery case before their nuptials, is more than supportive. To Regan's surprise, not all the brides-to-be who've lost their gowns are that distraught. Regan's and Jack's cases convincingly intertwine as the sleuthing trail leads them from the streets of New York to Las Vegas. With her usual cast of quirky characters, Clark's lighthearted romp will keep readers guessing who will and who won't make it to the altar. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
PI Regan Reilly finds the perfect wedding gown-and then finds it stolen! The daughter of Mary Higgins Clark lives in NYC. National author tour. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"With her usual cast of quirky characters, Clark's lighthearted romp will keep readers guessing who will and won't make it to the altar."
Publishers Weekly

"Bestseller Clark's winning ninth mystery."
Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743554206
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
  • Publication date: 4/4/2006
  • Series: Regan Reilly Series, #9
  • Format: MP3
  • Edition description: Abridged
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 5.75 (h) x 1.00 (d)
  • Ships to U.S.and APO/FPO addresses only.

Meet the Author

Carol Higgins Clark
Carol Higgins Clark is the author of fourteen previous bestselling Regan Reilly mysteries. She is coauthor, along with her mother, Mary Higgins Clark, of a bestselling holiday mystery series. Also an actress, Carol Higgins Clark studied at the Beverly Hills Playhouse and has recorded several of her mothers works as well as her own novels. She received AudioFiles Earphones Award of Excellence for her reading of Jinxed. She lives in New York City. Her website is CarolHigginsClark.com.

Carol Higgins Clark is the author of fourteen previous bestselling Regan Reilly mysteries. She is coauthor, along with her mother, Mary Higgins Clark, of a bestselling holiday mystery series. Also an actress, Carol Higgins Clark studied at the Beverly Hills Playhouse and has recorded several of her mothers works as well as her own novels. She received AudioFiles Earphones Award of Excellence for her reading of Jinxed. She lives in New York City. Her website is CarolHigginsClark.com.

Biography

If Mary Higgins Clark is the Queen of Suspense, then her daughter, Carol, could be considered the Princess of the Pratfall for the quirky comedy she liberally sprinkles throughout her bestselling Regan Reilly mysteries. As a reviewer once said, "Mary Higgins Clark goes for the jugular; Carol Higgins Clark goes for the funny bone."

Clark's apprenticeship to her mega-bestselling mom began early on. In 1975, when she was a student at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, mama Mary was still working full time, supporting five children on her own while trying to get her fledgling career as a novelist off the ground. Daughter Carol did her part to help, pitching in between term papers and acting classes to peck away at her mother's pages on a manual typewriter, making savvy edits along the way.

She recalled to the Philadelphia Inquirer her early days as an unsung editrix of her mother's work: "In one of her books, Loves Music, Loves to Dance, she had a serial killer who was making dates through the personal ads and then killing the girls. So the best friend of one of the girls he killed is trying to figure out who might have done it, so she's going out on these dates. So I was reading it and going over it with my mother and she had all these bars in New York. I said, 'No one goes there, no one goes there.' So I changed all the bars and restaurants. And People magazine said in its review: 'Clark offers a well-informed tour of New York's singles haunts.' So that was my contribution to that book. But I was really learning a lot."

After a few acting stints in off-Broadway theater, movies, and television -- her first role was as an extra on the soap opera Ryan's Hope -- Clark decided to try her hand at writing her own novel. She conjured up a semi-autobiographical heroine, sleuth Regan Reilly (who just so happens to have a celebrity author mother), and Decked debuted in 1992, garnering nominations for both an Agatha and an Anthony Award for Best First Novel. Clark relishes researching each new Regan Reilly adventure, gleaning inspiration from real-life capers both daffy and decadent.

After establishing herself in her own right as a farcical force to be reckoned with -- all of her Regan Reilly novels hit the New York Times bestseller list -- Clark teamed up with her mother in 2000 to pen their first holiday-themed thriller, Deck the Halls. We think it's pretty safe to say Carol didn't have to do all the typing!

Good To Know

Some outtakes from our interview with Clark:

"My first job was at a dry cleaner's. You'd be amazed at what you find in people's pockets! All sorts of clues about their lives! I had a character in Iced who worked at a dry cleaner's."

"I started out as an actress, and that background has helped me with my books. I love going to the theatre."

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Read an Excerpt


Chapter One

Regan Reilly descended the staircase from the second floor of her parents' home in Summit, New Jersey, as she had on countless Saturday mornings in the thirty-one years of her life. As usual, she was headed for the kitchen where her mother would be putting out breakfast. But this Saturday was different.

It was her last Saturday as a single.

Regan's hand lightly brushed the banister as she reached the bottom step and turned toward the living room. The presents from her bridal shower, held the night before, were neatly stacked in the corner -- everything from the latest and greatest cappuccino machine that Regan was sure she'd never be able to figure out, to a clock radio that blared "Today is the first day of the rest of your life" when the alarm went off. The set of gleaming kitchen knives had intrigued Regan the most. A private investigator, she had examined them closely. The only other present that could have been considered a deadly weapon was the cookbook, her father, Luke, had remarked.

Luke and Regan's fiancé, Jack "No Relation" Reilly, had escaped to a restaurant in town, and then returned to join the women for an after-dinner drink. All the obligatory oohing and aahing over the household goods and lingerie were mercifully over. Jack's mother, sisters, and aunts were at the shower as well as many of Regan's old family friends. It had been a lively party.

Regan had flown in two days before from Los Angeles where she had her own PI agency. There was now one week left to finalize all the arrangements before she went from Ms. Reilly to Mrs. Reilly. Today she was heading into New York City with her mother, Nora, and her best friend, Kit, to pick up her wedding gown.

Getting married is a lot of work, Regan had thought more than once since she'd gotten engaged six months ago. It was easy to see why women turned into Bridezillas. But all the hassle was worth it. Jack was what she had waited for all her life and they both wanted to celebrate with their friends and family by having a large, festive wedding.

After years of enduring dates with losers, weirdos, and, worst of all, cheapskates, Regan often felt that she would never meet her soul mate. It took her father getting kidnapped for her to find Jack. He was the head of the Major Case Squad in New York City and had worked day and night to get Luke back. In the process, he and Regan had fallen in love.

At the large butcher block table in the kitchen, Nora and Kit were sipping coffee and munching on blueberry muffins.

"Good morning," Regan said cheerily. "Kit, I can't believe you're up. We don't have to head into the city for another fifteen minutes."

"I was sleepless thinking about seeing you in your wedding gown today," Kit said in her usual droll tone. "I never thought the day would arrive. I never thought my day would arrive. Yours did. Mine, I'm sure, never will."

Regan laughed as Nora cooed sympathetically. "Of course it will."

"Mom, don't worry about Kit," Regan said as she poured herself a cup of coffee. "Kit, we'll get through everything that this next week entails, get me married off, and then I'm sure we'll be planning your wedding before...before uh..."

"Before what?" Kit asked as she spread butter on her muffin. "Before the cows come home?"

"Way before that," Regan answered with a wave of her hand. "Life can change in an instant. I still have a week before I walk down the aisle. Who knows what could happen before then?"

Nora jumped up, an alarmed expression on her face. "Don't even think like that, Regan. Everything is going to be wonderful. Now let's finish our coffee, get in the car, and drive into the city to pick up the gorgeous dress you will wear one week from today. I must say I'm glad it'll be the last time we have to deal with those crazy designers and that drafty loft they have the nerve to call a bridal salon."

Regan and Kit looked at each other and laughed.

"Mom, Charisse and Alfred are a very talented couple and they are starting to make their mark in the fashion world. They're booked a year in advance. I'm glad they were willing to squeeze me in. Pretty soon they're going to be household names."

None of them could have predicted that Charisse and Alfred's quest for fame would be sped up by their appearance on the front page of the following day's New York Post.

With Regan at the wheel, Nora's Mercedes-Benz glided into the Holland Tunnel.

"It's a lovely day," Nora sighed as the sunlight disappeared behind them. "I hope it's like this next Saturday."

"I do, too. But it's April. You never know..." Regan's voice trailed off.

"A girl in my office scheduled her wedding for late October on Martha's Vineyard. Wouldn't you know a nor'easter hit that very day? When they got to the reception, the restaurant was without power. And the backup generator had gone kaput," Kit remarked from the backseat.

"Thanks, Kit." Regan smiled. "I'll be sure to pray for good weather."

Fifteen minutes later they parked the car in a lot not too far from the heart of Little Italy. Alfred and Charisse's Coutures was located in a loft on the entire third floor of a building that, in Nora's opinion, was in need of a makeover.

"I don't know what the allure is of places like these," Nora muttered as they walked down a side street that looked like the Broadway set for Cats.

"People love it down here," Regan commented. "And if you're in fashion, it makes you seem hip to have an address like this. It's where old New York meets the new. The pushcarts of yesteryear have been replaced by trendy boutiques."

"What's wrong with Madison Avenue?" Nora asked as she stepped over a piece of broken glass on the cracked sidewalk. They stopped in front of an old building and caught the door as a young couple was coming out. Regan held the door open as she pushed the buzzer for Alfred and Charisse's loft. There was no answer. She pushed it again, and they waited.

Kit looked at her watch. "It's eleven o'clock."

"I can't imagine where they'd be. They live here and they're expecting us," Regan said.

"We've already made it through security..." Nora remarked wryly, glancing around at the empty lobby.

"That we have," Regan agreed. "Let's head upstairs."

The three of them got on a large, battered, groaning elevator, which took its time about everything. The car slowly ascended to the third floor where it stopped with a jerk. A loud click and a mournful moan followed. After an agonizing six seconds, the door opened.

Right away Regan could tell something was wrong. The door to the loft was ajar. Whenever she'd been at the salon, Alfred always made a point to keep the door closed. He was paranoid that his genius might float out the door and people would somehow steal the ideas for his designs. Regan hurried across the hall and pushed the door fully open. There was no one in sight. The dress racks were empty. But one lone gown was in shreds on the floor.

"Charisse?" Regan called. "Alfred?"

There was no answer.

Nora grabbed Regan's arm. "Regan, be careful."

"Charisse?" Regan called again, her voice rising. "Alfred?" She slowly moved farther into the loft and saw that the shredded dress had drops of blood on it. Regan inhaled sharply and hurried to the back of the loft and around the corner to where she knew their bedroom was. Gingerly, Regan opened the door.

"Oh, my God!" Regan cried.

Charisse and Alfred were stretched out on their bed, bound and gagged. Regan hurried over and removed Alfred's gag.

"Regan!" he cried, struggling for breath. "A couple of thieves broke in here in the middle of the night. They tied us up. I thought they were going to kill us. They smashed our safe here in the bedroom and grabbed our cash and jewelry!"

"They did more than that," Regan said quickly as she ran around the bed and untied the cloth around Charisse's mouth. "It looks like all your dresses are gone. Except one that could use a lot of help."

Two screams pierced the air: One belonged to Alfred. The other emanated from the owner of that sorry bridal gown who had just arrived in the next room.

Regan couldn't decide whose scream was worse.

Copyright © 2006 by Carol Higgins Clark

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